Kennel Club approves DNA testing scheme for Cocker Spaniels

The Kennel Club has approved a new official DNA testing scheme for Adult Onset Neuropathy (AON) in English Cocker Spaniels. AON is a hereditary, neurological condition whose symptoms typically show between the age of 7.5 and 9 years, with progressive weakness in the hind limbs and wobbly, uncoordinated gait. Eventually, dogs affected are often unable to walk properly.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said, “The Cocker Spaniel is one of the UK’s most popular breeds, with over twenty thousand puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2015 alone, so we are pleased that we are able to offer this DNA test to help tackle this debilitating condition."

Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details, and the result published in the next available Breed Records Supplement. The result will appear on "any new registration certificate issued for the dog and on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website".

Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded if owners provide copies of the DNA certificates; by providing the original thee original registration certificate for the dog, the owner will receive a new registration certificate - including the the DNA result - free of charge. This, the Kennel Club says, will ensure that breeders are supported with resources to help them to make responsible breeding decisions.

Caroline said, “We work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs and we are happy to accommodate a club's request to add a new DNA test to its lists. We would normally need a formal request from the breed's health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs to do this.”